Dead Fiordland climber named

KIMBERLEY CRAYTON-BROWN
Last updated 16:07 24/02/2012

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Police have released the name of the man who fell to his death while climbing the Homer Saddle in Fiordland National Park yesterday.

He was Rangiora-born Athol Whimp, who had been based in Australia for the past 20 years.

Whimp, aged 50, was an experienced and well-regarded mountain climber who had been holidaying in New Zealand, police said.

Sergeant Ian Martin, of Invercargill, helped in the recovery of the body today after rough weather made recovery impossible yesterday.

Martin, part of the search and rescue team, said it took about an hour to recover the body, which would now be taken to Southland Hospital in Invercargill for an autopsy.

Alpine Mountain Rescue members from Queenstown, NZ Police search and rescue members from Invercargill, and Southern Lakes Helicopters were involved in the recovery.

Acting sergeant Steve Heyrick of Te Anau said there was a two-to-three-hour break in the weather and a Southern Lakes helicopter had taken Alpine Mountain Rescue and members of the Invercargill police search and rescue team to the saddle.

Whimp fell about 9.30am and police were alerted about an hour later when his two companions walked to the Homer Tunnel to use the satellite phone.

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- The Southland Times

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